How to Make a Piggy Bank


I'm normally a debit swiping, credit-card carrying shopper who rarely makes cash purchases. However, this year I'm using cash a little more than usual which equates to coins rolling around the bottom of my purse, backpack, car, and pockets. Since I don't like being weighed down by these precious metals or the idea of losing them, I've started saving all of my loose change in a do-it-yourself piggy bank. (See also: Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change)

I must say I love watching my coins multiply. Not only is it motivating to watch the piggy bank fill up, it's relaxing to actually dump out the coin bank and count how much I've accumulated, which then ends up getting rolled up and hidden away toward my camping trip fund. Here are several ideas on making your own piggy bank.

Easy, Simple Banks

Grab a container from around your house and put a slit in it.

Glass Mason Jars

It's no wonder glass Mason jars have been in existence for 125 years — they serve various functions from canning to drinking glasses to storage containers. I chose a large Mason jar for my own piggy bank because it was so easy to use. All I had to do is cut a small slit through the top large enough for quarters to slide through. Since it's glass I can also see how much I've accumulated without dumping out the entire jar. It's a great piggy bank for children to use as well since they can practice estimating what they see, then follow up by counting the actual amount. The only precaution I'd add is that it is glass, and though thick, it could still easily break if dropped. (See also: Sanity Saving Ideas for Canning Jars)

5-Gallon Jugs

If you use cash quite often and end up with tons of coins, a 3- or 5-gallon jug might be another option for storing that money. These reusable water jugs come in plastic or glass, so depending on if you have someone strong enough to lift a filled jug, it could be quite motivating watching the amount grow. I can usually save about $50 in my small Mason jar before I need to empty it. I would imagine that a filled 3- or 5-gallon jug could hold close to 10-times that amount!

Tin Cans

Any tin can with a plastic lid can be turned into a piggy bank within seconds: coffee cans, baby formula cans, or Pringle's cans. The only disadvantage is that you can't see the accumulation of coins from the outside. However, this could be beneficial if you find yourself raiding your coin collection every now and then; the out of sight, out of mind mentality definitely reduces temptation. Using one of these can-banks with children can teach them estimation skills based on weight; they can guess how much is in the can based on how heavy it is, then count the amount to see how close they were.

Fun, Creative Banks

Want to add a little fun to your homemade piggy bank? Get out your scissors, glue, and googly eyes.

From Milk Jug to Animal Bank

Maybe it's because I've taught elementary school for many years, but give me an empty milk jug, some construction paper, felt-tip markers, and googly eyes and almost any item can be turned into an animal of sorts. Turn an empty, cleaned out, plastic milk jug on its side (handle up) and cut a slit under the handle large enough to slip a quarter through. Next, decorate the cap for the nose and glue on some googly eyes and pom-poms for decoration. Finally, using a paper towel or toilet paper tube, cut four 2" sections and glue on the bottom of the milk jug for feet. When the jug is filled with coins, you can cut open your "piggy" bank or empty it through the cap.

Half Gallon Carton to Skyscraper Coin Collector

If you don't happen to purchase drinks in plastic gallon container, a half gallon carton can serve as a coin collector as well. Rinse out the carton and let it dry. Use construction paper, crayon, and markers to decorate windows, doors, bricks, etc. Using white glue, like Elmer's, glue the construction paper on the outside of the container, including the top part where the tops form a triangle. Cut a slit for coins at the top, or if it has a screw on lid, most coins will fit through that opening. The carton shape can be decorated into any creation, from building, to rocket, to cell phone; it can be a fun way to teach saving and reinforce counting money.

Soda Can/Coin Jar Sculpture

If you're really creative and love finding ways to reuse soda cans, consider creating a soda can sculpture using fishing line or wire hangers that can collect your spare change. Just be sure to cut a larger opening at the top and make sure little fingers don't get too close to any sharp edges. Turning the severed edges in toward the inside of the can will help minimize jagged edges. Once the "sculpture" is full, you can cut off the tops of the cans to empty and then recycle.

These are just a few ways to reuse everyday items and help create a small rainy-day savings fund.

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Guest's picture

That 5-gallon jug really took me back to my childhood. My mom still has one - somewhere in her house.

Little House's picture

Teachers constantly share ideas from year to year, so it's no wonder it brought back memories! Pretty much any can, canister, jug, or jar can be turned into something useful.

Guest's picture

I really liked the glass mason jars idea. They really are the best, I can come up with so many good uses for them!

Little House's picture

Mason jars are the best. Last holiday season, I gave hot cocoa away in these jars as gifts to colleagues. These jars can be used for almost anything.

Guest's picture

I use an empty plastic candy container from costco. I agree it is fun to watch those coins pile up. When it's full, I'll cash out and put the proceeds towards vacation.

Little House's picture

That's a great idea, too. I use my coin jar towards camping - at least it covers the groceries!

Guest's picture

My husband has a large glass jug for pennies, then coffee mugs for quarters, dimes, and nickles. They're currently overflowing, so maybe we should cash those in...

Little House's picture

I like how your husband is using various canisters for the different coins. I'm sure it's a bit overwhelming, but it makes it easier to count! ;)

Guest's picture

My favorite is a giant Whiskey bottle... You can normally get them by asking bars to save them for you.

Guest's picture

There is nothing worse than being weighed down by the extra 5 pounds of loose change in your purse. I found that when I'm using cash I spend less because I'm aware that of my limit so I made it my new years resolution to only use credit and debit cards when needed in order to avoid frivolous spending. But as a result, I'm swimming in coins! I'll admit I am a southern girl who loves my Mason Jars so I don't know why I haven't thought to use one to collect the change. Thanks for the tips!

Guest's picture

I have been making it a habit of saving my loose change for a few years now. I have four containers in a kitchen cabinet, a recycled metal flower pot holds quarters, two plastic cups hold nickels and dimes and a glass jelly jar holds pennies. I keep my coins separate for a few reasons - it's easier to roll when they are sorted, I don't count and roll until a couple containers are full, have a box for the rolls and only cash in when the box is heavy. I love the sound the coins make when getting dropped into their container - it makes saving more fun for me! I save my change from Oct to Oct and average about $500.00. I then use the money for Christmas, whether it be traveling or presents (helps with the budget squeeze during the holidays, too).

Guest's picture
random person

i made my piggy bank with cut up magazines and a plastic container and made it to look like a moshling (yes. im into moshi monsters.) named mr snoodle. its good because it is not see through, which helps me avoid spending it for a while, it's re-useable, to empty it i just have to take of the lid and take out the money then put the id back on and i can start saving again, and its cute, which makes me want to keep using it and not throw it away.


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